Swiss findings of the global study show that:

  • 69% would like their employer to take care of developing training opportunities.

  • Only 19% of workers have acquired digital skills recently, but 48% have acquired technical or job-specific skills.

  • 61% of workers see themselves as responsible for acquiring new skills.The results indicate a current skills shortage, and highlight the importance continuous up- and reskilling, led by individuals, supported by companies, employees and government.

The study focusses specifically on white collar workers in two industries (finance/insurance and consumer/retail) across nine countries (China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and US). The Swiss results are being published today, with the full global study due for release mid-November.

Examining Switzerland in more detail, workers receive the most support from their companies in terms of defining their re-skilling needs (52% evaluate the skill gaps through company's performance assessment, versus 44% globally), and they are therefore less proactive in self-developing than in other countries (24% Swiss employees evaluate their skill gaps through their own research versus 38% globally). Even where Swiss workers do see themselves as responsible for acquiring new skills, the expectation is still that their employer will develop the training opportunities for them (69% would like their employer to develop training opportunities versus 59% globally). And interestingly, they would like specialized training providers to run the sessions rather than their employer (49% would like specialized reskilling provider to run the sessions versus 37% globally).

Nicole Burth, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland explains: “The current skills shortage is largely due to a skills mismatch. In the coming years, we will have less young people joining the Swiss labour market and a big number of baby-boomers retiring. We would therefore do well to invest more in digital skills training, as a way of making better use of new, digital tools and increasing the productivity of each one of us.”

The findings also show that Swiss workers seem to be slightly behind their peers in the acquisition of digital skills (e.g. artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, data mining, design thinking, digital design, digital marketing, programming, data analysis), and more focused on job specific and technical skills (e.g. accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, analysis, IT). Nineteen per cent of survey respondents have acquired digital skills versus 39% globally, and 48% have acquired technical or job specific skills versus 30% globally.

Daniel Kessler, Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group, and head of the Switzerland practice, says: “How to adapt their organization to the upcoming changes is a discussion that we currently have with almost all of our clients. What we see is that often leaders are worried about the willingness of their workforce to change and learn new skills. It is very positive to see that workers see a strong responsibility in themselves to work on their skills and it is very a strong signal to senior leaders to support their workforce”

About the study

The global future skilling study, due for publication mid-November, explores what the future of skills acquisition looks like for workers. Specifically, will workers need to rely only on themselves to define and acquire the skills they need? Will companies provide them with the right skills? Or will public institutions develop a supporting structure to help workers and companies navigate an uncertain future?

It will share insights on workers’ perspectives on skills and training, on the corporate mind-set regarding the preparation of their workforce for the future and on the role public institutions play to accelerate new skills acquisition. It will also share good practices encountered during the research as inspiration for how to close the skill gaps.

The study focuses on two industries that have both undergone significant change in recent years: consumer goods/retail and insurance/banking. White collar workers were chosen, as this group has tended to receive less attention in previous research. The study looks at nine countries: China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and US.